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Setting the record straight on myths about spinal cord injuries

Like just about any physical disability, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths about spinal cord injuries (SCI) and the rehabilitation process for those who suffer them. Those mistaken beliefs can impact the ability of patients to recover and adjust to their new lives.

One myth is that young adults who suffer an SCI have an easier time adjusting than older people. That’s not necessarily the case. Each person’s ability to cope and adjust is unique. Family, friends, support groups and mental health professionals can all help. So can technology and other resources that can help them live as normal a life as possible and stay connected to others.

Nonetheless, it’s important for family and friends not to believe another myth — that a positive attitude makes all the difference. While it can certainly help a person’s overall well-being, it’s not going to cure them. A person can’t will themselves to walk again. While it’s not healthy for someone to sink into hopelessness, they shouldn’t believe that whether or not they recover is entirely up to them.A third myth is that rehabilitation ends once you check out of the rehab facility. In truth, ongoing rehabilitation is essential. It’s important to have a long-term rehabilitation plan with short- and long-term goals.Those goals, however, will change as the individual does. Even if the effects of a SCI will be with someone for the rest of their lives, in some cases, their condition may improve. Progress in treatments and therapies is being made all the time. The effects of a SCI may worsen as a person gets older, gains weight or develops other medical conditions. That’s why ongoing therapy and medical observation are often recommended.

Another misconception involves the cost of an SCI. Many people underestimate how much this type of injury can cost over a lifetime. As we’ve discussed here, treatment and therapy don’t end when a person leaves an in-patient facility. Further, many SCI survivors need assistive devices like wheelchairs and changes to their homes, like ramps and accessible showers. These all cost money.

That’s why if you or loved one suffered an SCI in a crash or other event caused by someone else, make sure that you seek the compensation you’ll need for these long-term expenses. An experienced attorney can help you.

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